Abstract Snow plays an important role in providing atmospherically derived semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) to regions of high latitude and altitude. The accumulated winter snowpack serves as a reservoir for SVOCs, which may then be released to arctic/alpine catchments during seasonal snowmelt or entrained into deeper layers of snow and ice. This paper provides a review of the occurrence of SVOCs in snow, exploring sampling methodologies and field measurements. Furthermore, chemical fate following snowfall and the propensity of SVOCs to undergo revolatilization with snow metamorphosis are examined along with air–snow partitioning and the role of physical parameters such as snow density and snow surface area in controlling vapor-sorbed levels. Snowmelt and firnification processes are described, and the latter are related to SVOC measurements made in deeper snow layers and glacial ice cores. Evidence is provided that suggests that those SVOCs that possess relatively higher snow interfacial/air partitioning coefficients ( K ia snow ) or lower Henry's Law constants may be more efficiently retained in snow, with implications for the occurrence of currently used pesticides in the temperate mountain snowpack.